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Justin O'Neill

2014-2015
Justin O'Neill 2014-15 Peterson Fellow

Justin O’Neil is a third year law student. He received his B.A. in political science from the University of California, Irvine in 2007 and spent five years working in higher education administration and student affairs prior to starting law school in 2012.  Justin’s primary interests involve issues of law, sexuality, and gender.

The LGBT movement, in the last two decades, has primarily pursued formal equality under the law in areas of policy such as marriage, workplace discrimination, and hate crimes, using courts as the primary avenues of change (with legislatures a distant second). It seems increasingly likely that many of these goals will soon be achieved, especially given the Supreme Court’s June 2013 decision in U.S. v. Windsor and the nearly-unanimous string of legal victories for marriage equality proponents in the time following the decision. Once the movement reaches its legal goals, however, what happens next? Does the achievement of formal legal equality spell the end of the LGBT movement’s engagement with the law? If not, what can come next, what should come next, and what will come next? This theoretical project will look to a wide variety of perspectives, from social movements scholars to queer theorists to community leaders (paying special attention to those perspectives critical of the path the movement has taken to date) with the goal of integrating these various sources of knowledge to provide a broad outlook on the potential futures of the LGBT and queer movement. The project will be oriented around two primary questions: 1) what is the most likely course for the LGBT movement in a post-marriage equality nation; and 2) what insights might the movement gain from sources of knowledge that have not, to date, been well represented within the LGBT mainstream?